2019-10-20 - Mastery of Self is Everything


Making good on a marker called in by the God of War, Ares - Emma tries to, with the help of Laura Kinney, convince Phobos to master his powers

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Sun Oct 20 00:09:07 2019
Location: Private Dining Room

Related Logs


Theme Song



It was an interesting call she got, it isn't every day that one gets phoned out of the blue by a God after all. Emma actually steps out of the meeting she was in at Frost International to hear out the God of War (not Kratos!) as he calls in a marker. She owes him, and Emma Frost pays her debts. So, given the contact information for his son Alex and, she reaches out by phone, and makes the arrangements to meet.

The restaurant is a nice one, and Emma has spared no expense, rather than deal with crowds or the like, she simply reserves the whole thing, and on top of that arranges to have a private dining room. Nothing like making an impression! When Alex arrives, he'd be shown to the room as will Laura, then the restaurant simply closes its doors to the public, Frost Party of Three has arrived.

Seated at the table is Emma, she's dressed in a dove grey jacket over a white lace and silk blouse that is quite nearly indecent, the white pants she wears have wide bottoms and she's wearing heels that add a couple inches to an already tall woman. Eyes of blue are coolly appraising as Alex arrives, but Laura is greeted with a hug, brief yes, but real for all that. "Hello again, Laura, good to see you." She turns then and offers a hand to Phobos. "Alex, I presume."

Laura had certain needs. She was not like normal people. Perhaps that is why she was guided in a direction by a certain giant of a man. He understood that her version of the world differed from those around her. While the mansion was her home, parts of her didn't fit with their beliefs and morality. She needed to learn from someone who was more fluid about such things.

Enter Emma Frost into her life.

Although she was not a touchy feely person, generally tending to hurt anyone that touched her, from Emma she was willing to receive a hug. She even returned it, a momentary wrapping of her arms then release as she had arrived.

She was dressed as she preferred. Jeans, a tank top and a flannel shirt over it all. Very opposite the classy woman she was joining for lunch. On her feet were a pair of sneakers. Out of respect for her mentor, they were new. No holes in the front. "Emma. Good to see you."

She entered a moment before the man they were supposed to be meeting but had managed to take a seat and sprawl into it before he did.

When such things arise the young man known as Alexander Aaron often does not have much of a choice about the matter. He is informed that he is to keep this meeting, to meet this individual, and to comport himself as is proper for one of his station. And when such terminology is used, he knows it is serious. So Alex… he takes it so.
When the young Olympian arrives he presents a rather handsome silhouette. Clean cut, the youth appears. He's freshly showered, shaved, with his hair actually combed and out of his eyes. Wearing black dress pants and shined black leather shoes, a black leather belt slithers through the loops of his waist and in turn keeps a white dress shirt tucked into place. No jacket, however, as is the eternal convention of youth. Just that white shirt and a black tie, as is proper. But his golden hair lends one of the few elements of colour to his profile, as well as the brilliant blue of his eyes.
He enters, a little after the young woman before him and gets shown to the same table upon which she advances… being brought into the presence of Emma Frost. Upon arrival he gives Laura a glance, eyebrow quirking, but then looks to Emma as he's addressed.
She greets him so openly, extending her hand and with such aplomb. His answer is to smile a little and reply, "Ma'am." As he takes her hand gently in greeting then gives a nod.
He'll take a seat when duly bidden.

Well aware that Laura's not terribly comfortable with touch — Emma does it anyway, because she has to /learn/. Also, she is genuinely fond of the girl, she's come so far from the savage she first met some time ago. Emma's morals are very much rooted in the practical, often to the opportunistic, sometimes more grey though she's trying do better about the truly black acts her instincts often urge her to.

Though all bets are off if she ever finds the mercs who almost killed her daughter.

Still, that hug is brief, she needs to acclimate - not be made uncomfortable.

"Ma'am? Emma will do for now, Alex." She's certainly not old enough to be 'ma'am' yet! Is she? Bah.

"Please, have a seat and both of you order whatever you like." She looks then to Alex. "So…your father asked me to speak to you. Did he tell you about what?" Emma's curious as to what Phobos was told.

As Alex approaches, Laura is open about her appraisal. She flicks her gaze over him quickly, assessing. Not nearly what he seems. There is a lot going on there that most wouldn't notice.

She just tucked the information away for now as she picked up the menu. A long look over it, then she folded it closed and laid it back down on the table. When the chance came to order, it was their best steak, rare, with a baked potato fully loaded on the side. Hold the salad. To drink, a good old soda. She used as few words as possible for the order then passed over the menu to the server and went back to staring at Alex.

Alexander takes the chair at the table that sets him suitably equi-distant from both Laura and Emma, enough to keep them in his direct line of sight, ostensibly to keep from having to turn his head too much in a conversation, but more simply because it's wiser to do so when one is meeting new people.
But his smile is offered, disarming, pleasant. "No ma'… Emma." He stops before uttering the second disastrous 'ma'am' and continues. "Just that I should come here and speak with you at the appointed time." And might well be noted that his doing so there seems no hesitation in his surface thoughts, as if doing that bidding at the behest of his father is simply what he's supposed to do.
Yet she can sense the wariness, and the duality of the youth's thoughts. So like the other godly beings she may have witnessed in the past, that sense of the 'other' to his mental processes, a certain duality to his mind as if they were not so much purely the result of his own and more the result of a conversation he holds eternally with himself.
When he placed his order, however, he just looked at the menu with a token glance as he listened to Laura place her order. He then looked up at the server and said simply, "I'll have what she's having." And then it was back to contemplating the both of them.

A nod to Laura's order, entirely expected.

And then she turns to Phobos. "Well, your father is clearly a man of many words." Emma states drily. "Still. You are here, that is good." Emma's order? Tilapia, over rice with steamed vegies. Alas, she cannot eat as she did in her youth anymore, she's only in her thirties, but her vanity demands she keep her figure, stays fit, keeps her beauty.

Yes, she's aware that it is vanity, and that she's vain. But…her beauty is a weapon Emma's not prepared to forego.

Once the server is gone and their drinks and appetizers delivered, she looks to Alex. "Your father is concerned that you seem to be conflicted about your powers, that you in fact are uncomfortable about them, and avoid them." Emma drinks what looks to be champagne though Laura can smell it is ginger ale, she's even drinking it from a tall fluted wine glass. "What's your take on that, Alex?"

The jalapeno poppers have met their match. Laura scoops a couple over onto her small plate and settles back into her seat again. She even used a fork to do so, out of respect for their host.

She isn't quite sure what this is all about yet and thus continues to watch and listens. At the mention of powers, she glanced at Alex again in consideration, as though looking at him will tell what he can do. She knows better. No idea just looking at him.

She took a bite of the jalapeno popper, remaining silent.

The young man's eyes slit slightly for a moment, gauging and a little wary. But he lifts his chin and gives a nod toward her. He takes the small act of removing the napkin's collar and setting it aside precisely in its proper location out of view and to the right for the servers to take. He then spreads the napkin over his lap, unfolded only once so it is the correct triangle of fabric.
His blue eyes light upon Laura, head tilting slightly and likely Emma can sense the curiousity exhibited in between the duality of Alexander's mind wondering what bearing she could hold on matters.
Only for him to look back towards the hostess and he says, "We've disagreed on that for a time. He wishes for me to gain some facility with them, and I don't think that's wise. For now." There's imagery in his thoughts, fearful faces, frightened people, shattered psyches. A horrible avalanche of wailing and pain that doesn't seem to affect Alexander outwardly though it screams in his head briefly.
As quickly as the screaming people are there in his thoughts, they're gone and the duality aspect of him seems to argue subtly with itself, though the thoughts and whispers are quiet, too quiet to discern easily without digging and pressing on the youth's mental barriers.

"Alex, have you met Miss Kinney?" Emma asks the lad before she continues. "She's a mutant, much like myself only her powers are very different." She'll let her decide what more to say, that's not Emma's call to make. Even as it is not her call to decide to out Alex, at least in any detail.

Sensing his layers, sensing his fear and doubt of his own nature, his loathing of the anguish that is his birthright to inflict, Emma can actually sympathize a bit.

A /bit/.

Icy blue eyes narrow, and she reaches out with her power. "Well, my powers allow me to communicate with and manipulate minds, emotions too." Once her mind has contacted both of theirs she crafts an image - they're all three of them standing in atop a hill looking down at what looks like the grounds of a school, and there's a somewhat younger Emma there, just a couple years, but she's dressed primly. "We all have our regrets, Alex. But it is dangerous to have power and not master it." She waits for them to get a feel for the area, get their bearings.

The twisting to the mindscape makes Laura go on the alert immediately until she realizes where they are. Her body relaxes and she begins to look around, taking a sniff of the air instinctively to pick up information. No telling how well it might work when she's in a mental landscape, which may or may not be memory.

She looks over at Alex. "Laura." She doesn't offer a hand to shake, just turns her attention back to him. Her eyes are candid, no sort of hiding what she thinks going on there at the moment. "You don't know your powers, you can't control them properly." Full sentences. She's feeling this is important since she prefers to keep brief when speaking. "Loss of control is more dangerous than anything."

As Alexander looks between them he keeps a good visible manner to himself, the smile conjured forth easily and given to each of them, disarming and natural and normal. "I haven't had the pleasure." He says as he gives Laura a nod of greeting. But he keeps the majority of his attention for now on Emma since well, she's doing most of the talking.
But as the telepath listens she can /almost/ hear the whisper of something, that distant susurrus of a conversation one can barely hear even as she delves a little closer, a little deeper, probing gently past the barriers that most beings have. Yet it's a secret thing. A quiet thing that might take some effort…
Only she is able to distract him with that tableau brought forth, the brilliance of what she creates and presents unfolding between them in that shared mindscape. In the shared imagination Alexander's voice is heard as he answers, "I understand." He gets his bearings, retakes an evaluation of who he is and what he can perceive.
"I haven't reached my conclusion without thought and contemplation."
And then quietly, only Emma can hear if she /reeeaches/ there'll be a low voice, slithery and whispery and writhing as it speaks only words intended for Alexander to hear. Words coming from something other.

** And here is the part where they try to sell you something. Alexander. Where they try to get you to buy what they want you to buy, to consume it all at the behest of the Caregiver. So earnest. So trustworthy. Two killers more the same than apart. **

"Control is everything." Emma states with absolute certainty. Indeed, her surety is firmer than the fundament itself. "Without control is disaster, death, impotence."

The mindscape is as real as Emma's mind can manufacture - it is incredibly lifelike, the air chill with autumn, the scent of leaves on the air, in part it is crafted from Laura's and Alex's own memories, her mindcraft such that she suggests, and their own minds fill in some of the minor details even as she shapes the broad ones.

It really is a remarkable thing to experience.

A hand rests briefly on Laura's shoulder, and then Emma chin points to the school grounds. "Lack of control."

One of the students trips another, the second falling to the ground and hitting their chin. A yelp of pain, and then that figure turns baleful eyes upon his tormenter, and a bolt of…something…a darkfire, leaps from him to hit the other student in the chest. The stench of burning pork rises, the others around the kids react in some cases with laughter, all but that younger looking Emma. She reaches out to the fallen child, and when he turns his darkfire on her, she frowns and he cries out in terror, control lost the flames are extinguished.

The other kid however, he needs to be carried off on a stretcher.

She does not press the whispering voice, but she does try to listen in, this could be key. For now she just looks to Phobos. "Control. Even with your thoughts, control FIRST. THEN you make choices about what to do, only when you have mastered your power do you have the luxury to choose whether or not to wield it."

** See, you need control Alexander. If such matters so much to these then think of what they want control of. **
That voice roils and writhes, suggestive and masculine and smug yet with a sinister edge and somehow an accent from somewhere uneasily defined. It roils around its syllables hurling them like daggers and smirking the while.
** It was rude of you. Rude of you to take the steps and slide those blades home, to stand on those corpses and after all of that journey here you are and you leave me bereft. And all the while it was important for you to make use of me. To let me be me. Such wise wisdom offered. **
But Alexander presents himself as if he hears nothing, sees nothing beyond what is presented to him even as he partakes of the illusion but only grudgingly shares what small facets of imagery might be brought forth from his own memories. "I hear the wisdom in your words and I would agree, but what has passed before is not something I would tempt fate again to pursue. Perhaps some day my thoughts will change. And I know my father spoke well of you,"
** I wonder if he slept with her. Can you imagine that? This fetid twisted harpy of a made up creature jumped up pretending to be amongst peers. **
Alex carries on, "But I." His lip twists a little as he offers sadly, "I don't want to be hated."
** Pathetic. **

Not being privvy to the information going on in Alex's head, Laura can just continue to watch the man while the conversation goes on around her.

When Emma touched her shoulder, she looked down to the scene below. Young Emma using her powers instinctively and sending off someone in a stretcher. It was familiar. Emma had shared such information with her in the past, a moment of transparency into a woman who preferred to remain private.

She looked back over at Alex for a long moment. Her eyes dropped to the group and she gripped her hands tightly into fists. "Miss Frost," she started, her voice carefully controlled to not give away the trepidation going through her. "Please show him. About me. About…her." She meant her mother, or the woman that she knew as a mother at least.

It was her darkest memory. Her greatest shame. But maybe, just maybe, it might get through his stubbornness.

Emma listens to the dark whispers, that alien accent, the rasping voice of a straight razor over a strop, and she shivers a bit. Both in interest, and in recognition of the fear it embodies. "You're not hearing me, Alex. You can't /tempt/ fate, she's a whore and a bitch and she'll stab you in the back before she'll stab you in the face. The idea is to take fate out of the equation, to make YOUR will the one that guides you, YOUR mind and heart the ones that rule." She shakes her head. "Fuck fate."

Laura has probably never heard Emma swear like that, it is shocking really, such poise - and the sheer venom as she says it? Chilling. Yeah, Emma's not fond of Fate. Not even a tad.

And then she laughs, at his desire not to be hated, and a shrug of shapely shoulders. "We don't always get to make those decisions, Alex. Others hate or love or ignore as suits their natures. We are responsible for our actions, of course, but it is a bit much to presume to shape others'."

Laura's offer surprises Emma, and she looks at the girl with one brow raised. "If you're sure…" Sensing the girl /is/ sure, she nods. "Then show him…"

Emma lets Laura steer their path, but she makes the memories, the events so very very real.

** You're being shared with. It's wonderful isn't it? To be one of them. One of the group. To not be apart. **
Alexander's blue eyes shift to Laura as she speaks, his brow furrowing with a hint of concern, perhaps a smidge of empathy. As if expecting what she experienced to likely be something to play to what passed for him.
** Of course she will be here. To show that you're not alone. But you are aren't you? Sick and trapped and weak. She's not here for her words, few they may be. She's a cautionary tale. A name whispered fearfully to little children. Eat your cabbage or you'll end up like her. You should eat your cabbage, Alexander. **
Then Emma takes her turn, speaking to him with such emphatic words. And when she snaps the profanity into being, Alexander can't help but smile even as the voice whispers…
** She's taking a page from our play book. Cheeky. **
But as Alexander speaks to her with an earnest smile the voice seems quieter, not gone, perhaps more unified… and she might hear hints of it in Alexander's own words. "I told a friend of mine those same words." Fuck Fate. Some age back with Robbie Reyes bemoaning his lo in life. Then he adds with that same half-grin, though he still seems… wary there in that dreamscape.
"But for me, Emma. There are three fates. And between you and me, Clotho is stuck up." He gives a nod as if that settled things on some level. Though he turns his head to the side to look upon Laura once again, only now the voice is quiet. Not silenced… but perhaps listening.

The world around them disappears. It is replaced by a white room. There is nothing in the room save for a blanket in the middle of the floor. It has that smell to it, like the mix of cleaning supplies and alcohol that always seems to linger in labs or hospitals. A door opens and a woman enters, holding a swaddled infant in her arms. She speaks soft words to the child then lays it in the middle of the blanket. She backs away slowly, obviously reluctant.

"Leave, Doctor Kinney." The voice comes from nowhere and everywhere, spoken through some sort of invisible speakers. Reluctantly the woman exits and the sounds of locks sliding into place can be heard.

A moment later, the walls shift, becoming view screens. And on each of them plays something different. One side shows detailed information on human anatomy. Another, an autopsy in progress. The next, people being beaten, stabbed, shot. Visons of blood and carnage, death and anguish everywhere around.

The baby began to cry.

The scene shifted. It was still a lab but this time there was a girl of about five in the sterile room. She had dark hair and green eyes. A book was open in her lap. A close look would show it was information on espionage tactics, specifically infilitration. As the door opened, a group of three men entered wearing tactical gear. They looked confused when they saw the girl. As one turned back to the door, it slammed shut and locked behind them.

"X-23. Order 72."

The child set the book aside, folding the corner of the page to remember where she was. Then she rose to her feet, giving a smile to the trio of men. *SNIKT*

Claws extended out of her hands, leaving red dripping along her fingers to the floor. One extended from each bare foot as well. A patter of tiny feet and she leapt. It was only a matter of moments and soon she was returning to her blanket, the bodies of the men in several pieces scattered around the room. She wiped the blood off her hand, then picked up her book to start reading again.

The room was gone. They were in the lab, winding halls that were as cold as the way she had been raised. Doctor Kinney was there, giving her orders to burn the place to the ground. Destroy it. A final command. The woman who had birthed her but was not her mother by blood.

She was clinical in her work, taking out person after person as she razed the place. It didn't matter who. If they were here, they needed to die. Then she faced him. The man who had been trying to destroy her mother. Only, before she could kill him, he released a chemical into the air.

Red. Rage. Hate. Everything around her was clouded by emotions as she went into a berserker rage. Those who had been left were killed. No longer clinical, no longer neat. Blood stained the walls and ran in rivers along the floors. She was an animal, raging as she tore through anything in her path.

Then her senses coming back as she saw the crumpled form on the floor in front of her. Falling to her knees and pulling the woman into her lap. The woman she had killed. "Mother…" A soft word, broken, lost.

Then world faded to darkness as Laura shut down her memories, unable to build a landscape like Emma so leaving three of them standing in darkness, only able to see one another in the nothing.

Both hands lift to Alexander's temples, his brow furrowing as he watches the imagery brought to them from within Laura's memories. He shakes his head, remembering too much shared, linking the past of one to the past of another and of another. Bad memories taint them all and Laura's gives a horror that's all new to be experienced.
"I agree with you," Alexander says simply as he turns to look at them, there in the darkness. "Don't you understand? I agree with you. But there are…" He spreads his hands, fingers flaring apart as if he didn't have the words to explain. "Circumstances, and it was clear you…" He looks to Laura and frowns, "You were hurt and so much was taken, but you needed control. But me… I…"
"I don't need this." He gestures behind him as if to something unseen.
** Liar. **
"You were raw and wearing your pain. But I have everything…" In the dreamscape it is hard to speak things that might be even remotely untrue, so Emma can likely feel the difficulty. "I have it under control."
And then, with some sound of distance and resignation he looks back and extends a hand behind him. And from that gesture suddenly springs forth an entirely new tableau. Summoned almost effortlessly as if the youth had some ability with the powers of the mind, perhaps surprising Emma and Laura with his facility.
They're in someone's basement, an affluent one apparently from all of the brilliant furniture, the decor, the electronic toys and heavy duty work out equipment. Young teens gathered around sprawled all over the furniture. Some drinking. Some not. Alexander is there, younger, pale, a grim visage to him like one would imagine a golden youth who was on his death bed but somehow was up and about.
Then voices from the unmoving figures. Time is frozen. Sometimes the image changes, but nothing like real-time. Just one frame and then suddenly another.
A cute redheaded girl asks happily, "What can you do?" One moment her mouth is closed, the next it's open as she 'speaks'.
"Scare people."
"Hah, bet you can't scare me," Says one of the boys in his basketball jersey. Only 'speaking' in those weird single frame movements.
"So your dad is a superhero?"
"Can you scare a bunch of people?"
"Do Bobby. No do all of us."
And all of a sudden the entire venue is lit up in blacks and reds, faces now unrecognizable reaching and grabbing. The redhaired girl is clawing her eyes out in one frame. The boy in the jersey is slamming his head into the wall. There are people screaming. There is a child clawing at the door until his fingernails tear off. Mayhem.
And only then is Alexander evident fully, animated fully, moving in real time amongst people frozen in a single frame of time as he laughs and says in a voice that sounds familiar to Emma, "Isn't this what you wanted? You should feel blessed. All of you blessed."
And then his corner of the dreamscape ends, leaving them again in the nothing.

Emma provides the SFX, the memories are all Laura, and she's well familiar with them. And they STILL infuriate her almost beyond her ability to cope with. She watches things play out, eyes dark and unflinching. She Admires the courage it took for her to reveal such deep memories - such painful memories. Her own offering is not nearly as raw, but still private.

And then they dwell in darkness until the godling takes charge and shows his own breed of horror show. This is not her doing at all, but his, and Emma is well aware. STill, the LINK is hers, if she needs to she can break them free.

What finally gets her is how smug, how vile that Other voice is. "Alex, you do know that the voice in your head tempts because it is otherwise Impotent. That YOU are the one truly in control, it has nothing you don't give it - and without you…" She has raised shields about herself and Laura. "…and without you it is nothing."

Hopefully those shields will be sufficient, she's pretty sure it is about to get a bit bumpy.


It is automatic. As the horror plays out in front of Laura, the people screaming and clawing, trying to escape whatever it is Alex can do, it triggers that fight or flight instinct. Which with Laura always means fight.

Hopefully she didn't do this in reality as well or those new sneakers now have holes in them.

In the mental landscape, she eyes the goings on intently then focuses on that being, that entity, that Alex seems to hold within him.

Anything she says will not help. Yet she finds herself wanting to. She grits her teeth, body tense, claws out on her hands and feet.

** Ohh, fancy fancy. It's all solved now isn't it? So secret so revealed. Tell her no, the pommel blames the blade, but the sword just keeps on killing doesn't it? **
The voice is smug, amused, and it seems entirely content with its contribution to the discussion, while Alexander frowns with his brow furrowed. His lips thin and his jaw sets, then he lowers his gaze and brings it back up to meet Emma's from across the way. "I… don't want you in my head. If we're going to talk. We can talk. Alright?"
He looks at Laura and at her reaction he bites his lower lip, taking a deep breath and steadying himself as he frowns and then redoubles his effort to stand behind his wishes. "Please."

"Of course." Emma dissolves the link immediately when he requests it, she's not a monster. She's here honestly to help, not to bully. "I will say this, however, Alex, and I'm sure your lesser half will hear…YOU are better than it. And though I understand your reticence, you do still need to master your powers. Otherwise at some pivotal moment you'll find it has mastered YOU and there will be even worse tragedies than what you showed us. Far worse." She looks at poor Laura's ruined shoes, and then offers the girl a smile.

Yeah, another case of sneakers is sure to be ordered and delivered to her home. Emma likes taking care of her students, and it is a trivial thing. Hell, she even probably owns the shoe company!

There are two claws sticking up through the table. Laura frowns, realizing she had her hand in her lap at the time and when she made a fist and they extended, broken table. She gives an apologetic look to Emma as she withdraws her claws. "Sorry."

THen she looks back over at Alex. "I don't understand what you do or how. But that is a part of you. You are in control. Learn to control it and you won't have that happen again." Sounds so simple but it is so difficult to learn. "She helped me learn it. She can help you."

Once back to the here and now in the really real world, Alexander pulls his napkin off his lap and sets to the side on the other seat next to him, his hands then rest flat on the tabletop surface as he keeps his eyes lowered for the moment and one can but hope to wonder what the voice might well be saying.
But then he lifts his head and looks at them both, brows knit together as he flits a look at one, then the other, then back again. His tendons bunch slightly then he pushes himself to his feet. "Thank you for the meal, Ms. Frost. Laura, it was good to meet you. I'll convey your well wishes to my father."
He turns and moves to step away, sparing a smile for the server as he passes nearby. He murmurs to them, "Thank you, it was great." Whether or not it was.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License